By Francesca L. Kritz
Consult Your Doctor
One night a few summers ago, when my 18-month-old daughter's mosquito bites
were making her itchy, cranky, and sleepless, I went to a 24-hour pharmacy to
buy antihistamine. It wasn't until I got home that I read the package
instructions: for children under 6, consult physician. By then it was after
10:00 p.m., and I didn't want to bother her doctor. So I guessed and gave Dina
a teaspoonful. As it turns out, the amount was right, but that...
is usually caused by handling poultry (such as chicken or turkey) that is
contaminated with the campylobacter bacterium and is raw or undercooked. For
example, you can be infected by cutting poultry meat on a cutting board and
then using the unwashed cutting board or utensil to prepare vegetables or other
raw or lightly cooked foods. Drinking contaminated milk or water from
contaminated lakes or streams can also result in infection.
Campylobacteriosis usually is not spread from person to person. But this
can happen if you have the condition and do not properly wash your hands. Some
people have become infected through contact with the infected stool of a dog or
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of
campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain, and fever within 2
to 5 days after exposure to the bacteria. Your diarrhea may be bloody, and you
may feel sick to your stomach and vomit. The illness usually lasts 1 week. Some
people don't have any symptoms at all. In people with
impaired immune systems, campylobacteriosis can be
How is campylobacteriosis diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a medical history and a physical exam and ask you
questions about your symptoms, foods you have recently eaten, and your work and
home environments. A stool culture can confirm the
How is it treated?
You treat campylobacteriosis by
managing any complications until it passes.
Dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting is the
most common complication. Do not use medicines, including antibiotics and
other treatments, unless your doctor recommends them. Most people
recover completely within a week after symptoms begin, although sometimes
recovery can take up to 10 days.
To prevent dehydration, take
frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink for each large,
loose stool you have. Soda
and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the important
electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea, and they
should not be used to rehydrate.